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Dilution of 13A would cost govt. its 2/3 majority, warns UNP

July 15 (Island) The govt would lose its two thirds majority in Parliament, if it dared to dilute the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the UNP predicted yesterday. UNP Chairman and MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the Rajapaksa regime was like a cornered tiger with no teeth left to fight. The proposed amendments to 13-A were floated and given wide publicity in the run up to the Northern Provincial Council Election, more..

Bourse outperforms gold; appears set to beat T-bill returns in 2013

July 15 (FT) With most asset classes having been hit hard over the last few months, DNH Financial says at current levels, the Colombo Stock Exchange’s All Share Index has outperformed popular investment commodities such as gold on an YTD basis even though having still underperformed against domestic T-bill rates. Following are excerpts from DNH Financial’s observations. While at current interest rates, although T-bill investors appear to be still generating a higher YTD rate of more..

Sri Lanka’s fiscal, external balance sheets weak, says Fitch

July 15 (FT) Sri Lanka’s external and public finances are of concern whilst macroeconomic performance is stable according to Fitch. In its latest overview that Asia Pacific sovereigns, Fitch said Sri Lanka’s Foreign Currency (FC) and Local Currency (LC) ratings have been affirmed at BB- with Stable Outlook in April 2013. This balances the strength of the country’s resilient growth performance and strong payment record against the weaknesses of its fiscal and external balance sheets. more..

TNA MP claims he foiled army attempt to rape 200 Tamil girls

July 15 (Island) TNA MP Sivagnanam Sritharan has claimed that he recently thwarted an attempt by the army in the north to rape 200 Tamil speaking girls. Addressing a group of Sri Lankans at Murugan kovil in Montreal on July 10, MP alleged that the girls were being taken away by the army when he intervened. The MP was responding to a member of the audience who queried his motive for campaigning against the govt while more..

Criminal Politics: End this reign of terror

July 15 (DM) As the crime rate in Sri Lanka soars to dangerous levels with politicians being either directly involved or giving patronage and protection to criminal gangs as we saw in the recent horror stories in Deraniyagala, using data from the Geneva Declaration’s latest report, the London-based Action on Armed Violence has identified Sri Lanka as the ninth most dangerous country in the world. The report says half a million people all over the world die violent deaths every year, but more..

Crisis in Education and Policy Responses

July 15 (DM) It is common knowledge that modern education is a major factor contributing to social and economic development, which in turn improves the life chances of a large proportion of the population in any country. Education also has wider impacts on society. It facilitates innovation and knowledge production by preparing younger people for higher education and independent learning. Moral and civic education which is often part of general education in many countries helps younger people to more..

COPE(ing) with loss makers

July 15 (SL) Almost 60 institutions have recorded deficits running up to millions of rupees for the year 2011. A draft report from the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), a copy of which is in The Sunday Leader’s possession, also acknowledged that what they termed ‘improper financial planning,’ had led to the State sustaining severe losses through institutions like the CEB, CPC, SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka. more..

'It is my dream to become CM of North'

July 15 (CT) The govt’s front man in the North and Minister Douglas Devananda, says it has been his dream for the past 20 years to be the Chief Minister of the Northern Province and warns against fielding former LTTE heavyweights in the govt ticket for the forthcoming Provincial Council election. He also says the govt may be scared of the prospect of the TNA winning the North, hence, the rush to change the 13th Amendment. more..

South Africa look for limited-overs rhythm

July 15 (CI) South Africa in July is not a time for rebirth. The country is caught in winter's grip - wind and rain sweep over Cape Town; weak, watery sunshine tries to warm things up elsewhere - and cricket will only be woken from its slumber when September ends. By then the new age would have begun. Russell Domingo would have completed his first assignment as head coach and the ODI and Twenty20 squads would have had their more..

Lanka Hospitals achieves 500th IVF birth

July 15 (CT) The Lanka Hospitals Fertility Centre announced the birth of its 500th In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) baby on 9 July, being the only fertility centre in Sri Lanka to have reached that milestone. Established in 2007, the Lanka Hospitals Fertility Centre is today one of the most successful fertility centres in the region, and at present has over 120 ongoing pregnancies and a success rate of 42%, the highest number in any fertility centre in the more..

Sri Lanka industries fear upcoming land ownership restrictions

July 15 (LBO) Planned restrictions on land ownership in Sri Lanka by foreigners may hurt industrial expansion in the country, an association representing some of the largest industries in the country said. "A number of our member and other large manufacturing companies in Sri Lanka are foreign owned," Pravir Samarasinghe, head of the Industrial Association of Sri Lanka said. more..

'SLFP a labour room, where delinquents are born'

July 15 (Island) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa yesterday said that the SLFP had become a labour room where political delinquents were delivered. Addressing party supporters, at a meeting after the Sasunata Aruna programme, at the Paramadhammanivesa Piriven Vihara in Boralesgamuwa, to donate Rs. 50,000 to the temple, MP Premadasa said the rule of law had collapsed. "Under the rule of very same leaders who more..

NFF opposes polls monitors from countries hostile to Lanka

July 15 (Island) The NFF has requested the Elections Commissioner not to invite foreign polls observers from countries that had voted against Sri Lanka, at the UNHRC, to monitor the forthcoming provincial council elections. NFF politburo member Piyasiri Wijenayake, in a statement, said that the attention of all had now been drawn to employing local and foreign polls observers to monitor Provincial Council elections. more..

CPC’s hedging blunder: Finally the people pay

July 15 (ST) The room was packed; the mood fraught. It was November 2008 and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s (CPC) hedging deals were fast going awry. Ashantha De Mel, then Chairman of the CPC, sat at the head table. On his right were the CEOs of three of the banks – Standard Chartered, Citibank and Commercial Bank – with whom he had signed hedging contracts. A news conference was about to begin. more..

EU delegation in Sri Lanka

July 15 (CG) An EU Parliamentary delegation arrived in Sri Lanka today on an official visit, the EU office in Colombo said. The delegation led by Jean Lambert, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia, will travel to the North during their one week visit. Officials said that the EU delegation will have meetings with the govt, opposition and other groups during their stay. more..

TNA nominate Vigneswaran as CM candidate

July 15 (CG) Former Supreme Court Judge C.V.Vigneswaran has nominated as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council elections by the TNA. TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that the decision to nominate Vigneswaran was taken at a decisive meeting held by the TNA today. There was a rift in the TNA over the nomination with the northern members of the ITAK threatening to contest the NPC polls more..

Why not install some bamboo gates

July 15 (CT) Enough editorials have been written on the alarming rise in the number of accidents occurring at unprotected level crossings all over the country, especially in recent times. But the danger such unprotected crossings continue to pose the longer they remain unprotected, means the issue will continue to occupy editorial space. And so, we revisit the subject, to highlight the need for awareness, urgent action, and even prod the powers that be to be more proactive. more..

Sri Lanka stocks down 0.2%

July 15 (LBO) Stocks closed down 0.22% Monday with large cap stocks making losses. All Share Index closed 13.54 points lower at 6,015.20 down 0.22% and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 12.01 points higher at 3,397.44 up 0.35%. Turnover was 440 million rupees up from 328 million from a day earlier. Commercial Bank contributed most to the index closing at 117 rupees up 2 rupees while Carsons and Cumberbatch closed at 425 up 8 rupees. Hatton National Bank closed at 157.00 rupees more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

A tale of two brotherhoods: The Rajapaksa and the Muslim

July 15 (CT) There is no direct comparison between what began as a High Noon drama in Egypt two weeks ago, and what has been going on for quite a while in Colombo as a low level street theatre involving 13A. The comparison, if at all, lies in the main orchestrators and actors in the Egyptian showdown and their counterparts in Sri Lanka. In Egypt, the army, the Muslim Brotherhood and their extremist variants, and the vocally united but otherwise hopelessly divided secular more..

Ex Deraniyagala chairman remanded

July 15 (CG) The former Chairman of the Deraniyagala Pradeshiya Sabha and several others have been remanded over the death of an estate superintendent. Former Chairman Anil Champika and 18 others had been charged in the murder at an estate. Earlier this month at least 15 men who had arrived in a jeep at the estate had attacked the 71 year old man identified as Nihal Perera. The police said that two others who were believed to be the security officers of the victim were injured more..

Eran warns of grave economic problems

July 15 (Island) Sri Lanka was poised to face severe economic difficulty in the near future if the govt did not take immediate action to revive the country’s dwindling export sector, warned UNP MP Eran Wickremaratne last week. Wickremaratne participating in the debate on Regulations under Import, Export Act said that the country’s exports had decreased drastically in the recent past. "Since 2007, our biggest export market was Europe. more..

SLMC-led Kalmunai MC vote for 13 A

July 15 (CT) Kalmunai Municipal Council (MC) last week passed a resolution by a majority vote that no amendments should be made to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Mayor, Dr. Zhiraz Meera Mohideen of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), moved the motion. Under the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, the 13th Amendment was enacted to solve the problems of minority communities by introducing the Provincial Council System. Diluting or repealing the 13th Amendment more..

JVP appoints committee for nominations

July 15 (LT) The Central Committee of the JVP has appointed a committee to select nominees and prepare nomination papers for the elections to be held for Northern, North–West and Central provincial councils. The committee consists of the Member of the Political Bureau and the Information Secretary of the JVP MP Vijitha Herath, the Member of the Political Bureau K.D. Lal Kanthe and Members of the Central Committee MP Sunil Handunneththi and Ramalingam Chandrawsekar. more..

Govt. facilitated rise of corruption and failed public on several issues - Gayantha

July 15 (AD) UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilaka issued a scathing attack on the government and the rise of corruption within the ranks of local government politicians while alleging that several internal conflicts had broken out within the ruling party. He likened the behavior of Pradeshiya Sabha Chairmen who had been accused of bribery in the recent past to that of those taking loans from the bank for private entrepreneurial ventures. more..

Ayurveda 2013 Exhibition successfully concluded

July 15 (GDI) Ayurveda Expo 2013 which was the 4th Ayurveda International Exhibition held in Sri Lanka successfully ended at the BMICH yesterday. Ayurveda is becoming a leading foreign exchange earner with U.S.$ 260,000 worth exports last year. The exhibition was organized by the National Chamber of Commerce in association with the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery more..

Gregory's Road now R.G. Senanayake Mawatha

July 15 (CT) Gregory's Road in Colombo 7 will be renamed R.G. Senanayake Mawatha, at the auspicious hour of 9:45 a.m. today. The renaming will be commissioned by President Rajapaksa at a simple ceremony held near the Maitland Crescent junction. The late R.G. Senanayake held the key portfolio of Agriculture in the D.S. Senanayake Cabinet, and 'RG' as he was affably known among his colleagues and the general public, was responsible for the landmark Rubber-Rice more..

HRC begins probe into move to fell thousands of trees

July 15 (Island) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has undertaken an immediate investigation into a government move to fell 67,132 trees on state-owned plantations in the hill country, HRCSL Commissioner Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa says. Dr. Mahanamahwea said that President’s Counsel Wijayadasa Rajapakshe had already lodged a complaint with the HRCSL against the State Resources and more..

Kandy-Theldeniya special needs school to be launched

July 15 (GDI) The Shivan Foundation for Disabled Children announced of the official opening of the Kandy-Teldeniya Special Needs School and Ayurveda Centre on Saturday 20th July 2013. The centre will be inaugurated by Minister Douglas Devananda with the participation of Minister Mahindananda Aluthgama, Governor Tikiri Kobbakaduwa, Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, Governor G.A.Chandrasiri and Ganeswaran Velautham Founder, Shivan Foundation. more..

Video: Sanjeewa Bandara banned from entering universities

July 15 (DM) The convener of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Sanjeewa Bandara was today banned from entering the premises of any university within the country by the Colombo Fort Magistrate. Magistrate while releasing Bandara who was in remand custody on previous bail conditions, banned the student union leader from entering any university in the country after the Vice Chancellor of the Ruhuna University stated Bandara was not a student of the university. more..

Sri Lanka to host conference of world's largest rubber producers

July 15 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka agreed to host the world 's largest rubber producing nations for a annual conference to discuss future prospects of the industry. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the country's cabinet has approved a proposal by Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries, according to which Sri Lanka will host the General Assembly of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries more..

Ramayana villain Ravana was a great ruler, says new book

July 15 (IANS) Contrary to popular wisdom in India, a new book on Ravana, the 'demon king' in the Ramayana epic, says he ruled a rich and vast kingdom in ancient Sri Lanka, wrote books and built a maze of underground tunnels to protect his empire. According to "Ravana, King of Lanka" (Vijitha Yapa Publications), Ravana may not have lost the war to Lord Rama but for the "betrayal" by his wife Mandodari and half brother Vibhishana "who gave away war secrets to the enemies". more..

Commonwealth lawyers call for CHOGM boycott

July 15 (ABC) The Commonwealth Lawyers Association says the controversial removal of Sri Lanka's Chief Justice shows a lack of judicial independence and transparency. But so far only Canada has threatened to boycott the November meeting in protest against alleged human rights violations, while Australia has dismissed such proposals as 'wrong'. Interviewer: Richard Ewart. Speaker: Alex Ward, vice-president, Commonwealth Lawyers Association. more..

Katchatheevu: SC issues notice to centre on Karunanidhi plea

July 15 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre on DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s plea seeking direction to govt to retrieve island of Katchatheevu which was given to Sri Lanka in 1974 and make it as part of Tamil Nadu. Agreeing to hear the plea, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir sought response from the Centre. Mr. Karunanidhi, in his petition, urged the apex court to declare the agreement between India and more..

Sri Lankan family are finally British citizens

July 15 (HC) When Nadesu Kuganesan uprooted his family to flee war-torn Sri Linka in December 2000 little did he know what lay ahead. They landed in the UK with nothing and sought political asylum and in January 2001 ended up in Halifax. The family slowly started to rebuild their lives with help from St Augustine’s Centre, Hanson Lane, which supports people of all nationalities. But, in 2003 Mr Kuganesan was detained for several days due to a mix-up over his asylum application. more..

Farmers cry out for urgent assistance

July 15 (Island) Farmers’ associations around the country have urged the government to grant them relief immediately to overcome the shortage of fertiliser and fix a certified price for their paddy. In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, 37 farmer associations have asked the government to fix the minimum certified price of a kilo of paddy at Rs. 40. National Organiser of the All Ceylon Peasants’ Association Namal Karunaratne, the first to sign the letter, said that the production more..

Video: 'Entire Commonwealth membership will be present'

July 15 (DM) No country has declined to participate at the CHOGM in November in Sri Lanka, Minister G.L. Peiris said today. “Not even one country has said that they will not participate at the summit,” he said. The Minister said that holding the summit would be an opportunity to boost the economy of the country and said it would be a great investment. He also said that the govt was eagerly inviting all the parties and more..

Video: Weather tragedy: Ministers shy away from responsibility

July 15 (DM) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa said today the relevant authorities were attempting to avoid responsibility for the situation that arose from improper information on the adverse weather condition that prevailed in the South. He said this was why Parliament was adjourned last Friday during the debate on the report on the adverse weather condition. “Both the Fisheries and the Disaster Management Ministers were passing the buck without having the guts to take more..

Key evidence missing on ASIO refugee case

July 15 (CT) A secret review upheld an ASIO decision to brand a Tamil refugee a threat despite the security agency admitting it lost crucial evidence. The review conceded that ASIO had relied on an unsigned, translated summary of the man's refugee claim that would 'have little evidentiary weight' in court - even though the Rudd govt uses the ASIO finding to justify locking him in indefinite detention. Sasikanthan Shanmugarayah, 30, has been held since a failed 2009 attempt to sail to more..

Callum Macrae may get access

July 15 (CG) Controversial British journalist Callum Macrae may get access to cover the CHOGM in Sri Lanka if his application falls within the guidelines of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, when asked if Macrae and former BBC corespondent Frances Harrison will be given entry to Sri Lanka for the summit, said that the govt will have the final say. He said that there are stipulated guidelines more..